Diabetes and Foot Problems

Diabetes increases the risk of ulcers and damage to the feet.  Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and Peripheral Neuropathy are the two main Diabetic conditions which cause foot problems to Diabetics.  The different types of foot problems that can affect Diabetics include Corns, Calluses, Fungal and Ingrown nail infections, Bunions, Hammertoes, Dryness of the skin and Tinea Pedis skin infections.  Chronic and repeated pressure during the presence of these conditions can lead to tissue death (dry gangrene) because of poor blood circulation and/or decreased pain sensation in the feet.  Bacterial infection (wet gangrene) can cause further life threatening complications.  Good blood sugar control combined with proper foot care can prevent many Diabetes related foot problems.  Damage to blood vessels and peripheral nerves can result from type 1 and type 2 diabetes which causes problems in the legs and feet.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) or Peripheral vascular Disease (PVD) comes from atherosclerotic plaques and hardening of the blood vessels which results in decreased blood flow and oxygen to the muscles and tissues of the legs and feet.  Signs and symptoms of PAD and PVD show up as cramping and pain in the calves and feet during exercise or while sleeping.  This is from lack of proper blood flow and oxygen which can result in tissue death and inability to heal. Injury or repeated pressure causing corns, calluses, ingrowing thick toenails can end up ulcerated, infected and even cause gangrene in severe cases.

Peripheral neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves directly from Diabetes.  Peripheral neuropathy decreases the sensation in the legs and feet making it difficult to feel pain from pressure or notice injuries due to the lack of feeling.  Peripheral neuropathy can cause the muscles of the feet and toes to work improperly causing misalignment and excessive pressure concentrated on some areas inside shoes or during weight bearing which, also, can result in ulceration and infection.

A combination of poor circulation and decreased feeling in the Diabetic foot is usually seen with chronic conditions such as:

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